Let me start by stating that I am a tried and true Apple enthusiast. I'm using my Macbook Air to type this and all of my entries. In my opinion, Apple makes fantastic hardware with a fit and finish that I really appreciate having in my everyday devices. I love my iPad and still think it is the best device for education. However, it is outrageously expensive and often way more machine then my students need.
I am blessed to be in a district with an iPad cart for teachers to use in the classroom. However, as many of you may have experienced yourselves, often sharing devices with whole school can mean that the devices aren't always available, or aren't charged, or are just way on the other side of the school. More than anything, I just want to have more devices in my classroom to be used exclusively in my room whenever I want. My school doesn't have the funding for a 1:1 program, so I needed to find a low cost option. Enter the 5th Generation Kindle Fire.
This fall, Amazon released the Kindle Fire Generation 5 7" Device at a $50. At first it seemed too good to be true. How could I trust a $50 device? Would it be a complete piece of junk? My father had a Kindle Fire a year or two ago and I found the operating system to be clunky, obtrusive and distracting. I was apprehensive so, like with many other things, I did my research.
From what I saw, it seemed as though the operating system had received a major overhaul in the last year. The specs of this newest generations were not amazing, but at $50, who would expect them to be? The device did have a front and rear facing camera, a 6 hour battery life, and a relatively intuitive operating system.
To make this device even more enticing, I stumbled across the promotion that Amazon ran this past October. The deal allowed someone to buy 5 devices and get the 6th one free. That's right, for just $249, I could get 6 devices. That was about $42 each!
It was about this time that my school's parents club ask teachers to submit "wish list" requests for items we'd like in the classroom. After talking with the Tech Coordinator from our school, he encouraged me to pilot a Kindle Fire program in my classroom. I discussed this with my 2nd grade colleagues and was delighted to see that they were also interested in getting a set for their classrooms.
So, it was set. Within weeks, my request was approved, the order was made, and I had a box with 6 Kindle Fires delivered to my house. Like a kid a Christmas, I dove in and opened them up.
It's also worth noting that, upon purchasing these devices, I also purchased six 16GB MicroSD cards. I realized that the 8GB of storage that comes with the device was not going to be sufficient. With 24 GB of memory, I would have more than enough room to do download all the apps I would need in my classroom.
So circling back, why did I choose Kindle Fires? The short and sweet answer is price. They simply the best value for the money. For the price of one iPad and case, I purchased 6 tablets. Over the next few months, we'll be able to see if these devices really can stand up to the abuse of my classrooms and the expectations of this techy teacher.
Common Sense Media
Helping Parents & Teachers Navigate a Digital World
A Mid-Year Checkup:
Tech Goals I've Met, Missed or Abandoned Completely
Shelf Reflection: What my classroom library says about the world and what I can do about it.
Looking Ahead, Blogging Forward
Teacher Approved Gifts for Kids
The Best Apps for Your Kid's New Device
Do Good with Great Deals
Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
Navigating the Election with Your Kids
Making the Most of 1 Classroom iPad
Apptoberfest: Google Photos
Apptoberfest: The Bible for Kids by YouVersion
Apptoberfest: IXL Math
Apptoberfest: Teach You Monster to Read
I Tried...I Failed...& You Can Too!
Let Go and Let Them
Oh the Place You'll Go: Using Green Screens in the Classroom
The Kindle Fire HD 8 - The iPad's Days are Numbered
A Fresh Start: Changes for the Year Ahead
Getting Great Stuff for Less - Part 2: Getting the Lowest Price
Getting Great Stuff for Less - Part 1 : Finding the Best Stuff
Stop Everything and Kahoot!
Coding in 2nd Grade with No Prep and $0
Kindles in the Classroom: A Year In Review